What are they like inside?
All three have a height-adjustable driver’s seat and a steering wheel that moves up and down. However, none of our contenders is blessed with steering wheel reach adjustment, which means you’re likely to find yourself forced to sit closer to, or farther away from, the pedals than you’d ideally want to.
The Volkswagen Up's front seats are also more laid back than you might like, even in their most upright setting, although you’re much more likely to take issue with the Renault Twingo's cramped pedal area and the resulting lack of a rest for your clutch foot. All things considered, drivers of most shapes and sizes will find it easiest to get comfy in the Hyundai i10, even though the seats in all three would benefit from a little more lower back support.
It would be unreasonable to expect soft-touch interior plastics at this price, and you won’t find them in any of these cars. However, the Up’s interior feels the most sturdily bolted together and the gloss face on its dashboard looks anything but low-rent. The i10’s interior is smart enough, even though the buttons on its dashboard don’t operate quite as slickly as those in the Up. However, the Twingo feels altogether cheaper inside, with some poorly damped switches on the dash and sharp edges on the plastics around the handbrake and glovebox.
Modern city cars need room for four and enough load space for a weekly shop, and the i10 provides that and more. It’s easily the roomiest in the back, with enough space to travel four-up on longer trips. Although our measurements show the Twingo has the most rear leg room, in reality it’s the most cramped in the back because most drivers will need to slide their seat farther away from the steering wheel than in the others to get comfortable, eating into rear space.
The Twingo is the only one with no lip at the entrance of its boot, though, so you can easily slide things into its square-opening load bay. Fold down the rear seats and they lie flush with the boot floor, and the front passenger seat back clamshells onto its base allowing you to carry very long items.
The Up’s boot is deeper than the Twingo’s, if shorter and narrower, and a standard height-adjustable floor allows you to minimise the load lip. The variable floor also irons out the step you’d otherwise be left with when folding down the rear seats; this is something you can’t get round in the i10. That said, the i10 has the widest load bay and can swallow the most luggage.
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